Tag Archives: Vision Zero Executive Order

” What the President secretly did at Sandy Hook Elementary School”

I just read this account of how President Obama reached out to bereaved families two days after the tragedy at Sandy Hook:

Person after person received an engulfing hug from our commander in chief. He’d say, “Tell me about your son. . . . Tell me about your daughter,” and then hold pictures of the lost beloved as their parents described favorite foods, television shows, and the sound of their laughter. For the younger siblings of those who had passed away—many of them two, three, or four years old, too young to understand it all—the president would grab them and toss them, laughing, up into the air, and then hand them a box of White House M&M’s, which were always kept close at hand. In each room, I saw his eyes water, but he did not break. . .

The staff did the preparation work, but the comfort and healing were all on President Obama. I remember worrying about the toll it was taking on him. And of course, even a president’s comfort was woefully inadequate for these families in the face of this particularly unspeakable loss. But it became some small measure of love, on a weekend when evil reigned. Joshua Dubois: What the President secretly did at Sandy Hook Elementary School

It is my hope that the leaders of our country will show similar compassion toward past, present and future vulnerable victims of vehicle violence and also take appropriate action.

Next 4 years

If the Cubs can win the World Series, we can get a #VisionZero Executive Order signed by @POTUS

When I met my husband, Jerry Karth, 40 years ago, I became a diehard Chicago Cubs fan. Our kids grew up waiting for the magical, miraculous moment that we witnessed early in the morning on November 2, 2016, when the Cubs won the World Series!

I’m counting on another miracle to happen when a Vision Zero Executive Order gets signed to pave the way for Vision Zero Rulemaking at the Department of Transportation. Translate that: when profit-focused cost/benefit analysis gets replaced by a more appropriate and compassionate cost effective approach to safety regulations.

Result: industry is regulated by rules which favor life-saving practices and products.

Are you listening, President Obama?! You could be my hero!

Executive Order Draft Application of Vision Zero Principles to Highway Safety Regulatory Review

I only wish that Vision Zero rulemaking had been in place years ago so that AnnaLeah’s and Mary’s lives might have been spared and they might have joined in the unbelievable World Series celebration with us.

3 at Muskegon31 Picture 5460 298 Picture 657

GWMemorial-149

Mary and Naomi photoBear Photo Story 1 0011 gertie 2782gertie 2946Picture 275

Is Cost/Benefit Analysis Appropriate for Life & Death Matters? Were their lives worth saving?

After we were instrumental in getting underride rulemaking initiated in July 2014, I realized that, though we had made it over one hurdle, in reality  the battle had only begun. I became concerned that the cost/benefit analysis which had so often compromised past underride rulemaking was still a very real threat. It was then that I surmised that a Vision Zero Executive Order to modify the regulatory analysis process might well be necessary. Thus the Vision Zero Petition was birthed.

CBA Victim

Some of the warning signs that the Cost/Benefit Analysis (CBA) bugaboo might be lurking around the corner can be seen in the Preliminary Cost/Benefit Analysis for the current underride rulemaking:

  1. To avoid making this post too-lengthy, I will provide the link to my initial reactions when the proposed rule was published in December 2015: A Mom’s Knee-Jerk Reaction to NHTSA’s Proposed Rule to Improve Rear Underride Protection  with an excerpt here–“NHTSA’s comments in the NPRM indicate that they do not want to compromise safety in the more common crash scenario and so have proposed to concentrate on making that area of the trailer safer and do nothing, at least at this stage in the game, about the other weaker area where crashes are reportedly less common. (See p. 44, ” NHTSA is not convinced that improved protection in the less frequent 30 percent overlap crashes should come at the cost of adequate protection in the more common 50 and 100 percent overlap crashes.”)I just have to ask, Is it really an Either/Or situation? Are we sure that we cannot reasonably address both problems?”
  2. Back in December, I put together a handy-dandy document highlighting important points in the Preliminary Analysis:  NPRM Rear Impact Guards, Rear Impact Protection December 2015 document; A Summary of Some of the Highlights
  3. Hey, I forgot about this: They are asking for information about higher (than 35 mph) speeds.  We recognize, however, that benefits may accrue from underride crashes at speeds higher than 56 km/h (35 mph), if, e.g., a vehicle’s guard exceeded the minimum performance requirements of the FMVSS. NHTSA requests information that would assist the agency in quantifying the possible benefits of CMVSS No. 223 rear impact guards in crashes with speeds higher than 56 km/h (35 mph)What are we waiting for?!
  4. Based on their proposed requirements, their CBA comes up with a figure which is very close to the current Value of a Statistical Life (VSL), $9.4 million–which tells me that if more improvements were added to the proposed rule, that figure would go up and they would then say that such a counter-measure was “not cost-effective.” Get it? p. 55 The agency estimates that the net cost per equivalent lives saved is $9.1 million and $9.5 million discounted at 3 percent and 7 percent, respectively. 
  5. See what I mean? p. 55 “We have tentatively decided not to require used trailers be retrofitted with CMVSS No. 223 compliant rear impact guards. Our analysis indicates such a retrofitting requirement would be very costly without sufficient safety benefits
  6. Of course, they aren’t figuring in (that I can see) the additional lives which would be saved with better protection or adequately considering undercounted lives–like AnnaLeah and Mary. Our FARS report said, “Compartment Intrusion Unknown.” Crash Report data on underride from our crash
  7. Why on earth, anyway, are they playing God and deciding that it isn’t worth it to save a certain number of lives? Besides, have they taken into account the fact that the underride victims are not the consumer of the product (improved guards on trailers)? The consumer is the trailer buyer who has already shown a willingness to seek safer trailers. And the manufacturers have responded to that by producing safer trailers (to a degree). See my recent comment on the Federal Register: Public Comment on the NPRM by Marianne Karth

When it gets right down to it, I want to just throw the cost/benefit analysis out the window. It is downright unethical and considers profit over people. Jerry says that the Cost Effectiveness Analysis would be more appropriate and is, in fact, mentioned in OMB Circular A-4 as a regulatory requirement.  Circular A-4, “Regulatory Impact Analysis: A Primer”

It is my hope that we can pursue a recommendation, made by a participant of the Underride Roundtable during the afternoon panel discussion, and organize a group of affected individuals and organizations/companies to meet together and develop a proposal to take to NHTSA in order to bring about a comprehensive negotiated rulemaking. The result could more quickly bring about a more effective underride rule which would cover all the bases to save as many lives as is humanly possible through improved technology. It would also get the manufacturing companies out of limbo so that they can make long-term plans and move forward with designing and producing safer products. Win/Win. N’est-ce pas?

Side note to Cost/Benefit Analysis Question: The fallacy behind the Australian fed. gov’t’s CBA.

Last night, I decided to find out if anyone agrees with my opinion that cost/benefit analysis is inappropriate for rulemaking related to traffic safety matters of life and death. Here is what I am finding:

  1. “Cost-Benefit Analysis: An Inadequate Basis for Health, Safety, and Environmental Regulatory Decisionmaking”* Michael S Baram ** “INTRODUCTION The use of cost-benefit analysis in agency decisionmaking has been hailed as the cure for numerous dissatisfactions with governmental regulation. Using this form of economic analysis arguably promotes rational decisionmaking and prevents health, safety, and environmental regulations from having inflationary and other adverse economic impacts. Closer analysis, however, reveals that the cost-benefit approach to regulatory decisionmaking suffers from major methodological limitations and institutional abuses. In practice, regulatory uses of cost-benefit analysis stifle and obstruct the achievement of legislated health, safety, and environmental goals.  The Article concludes that if the health, safety, and environmental regulators continue to use cost-benefit analysis, procedural reforms are needed to promote greater accountability and public participation in the decisionmaking process. Further, to the extent that economic factors are permissible considerations under enabling statutes, agencies should conduct cost-effectiveness analysis, which aids in determining the least costly means to designated goals, rather than cost-benefit analysis, which improperly determines regulatory ends as well as means.” Cost-Benefit Analysis: An Inadequate Basis for Health, Safety, and Environmental Regulatory Decisionmaking*
  2. “Since 1981, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the White House has reviewed significant proposed and final regulations for conformity with cost-benefit tests.3 Under a series of executive orders, OIRA has performed this role through Republican and Democratic presidencies.4 These policy reviews are controversial: Some claim that OIRA promotes the use of sound social-scientific reasoning; others see it as a front for business interests and a triumph of cold and heartless economic reasoning.” Putting Cost-Benefit Analysis in Its Place: Rethinking Regulatory Review p. 2 by Susan Rose-Ackerman
  3. President Barak Obama has continued the practice of regulatory review under the executive order originally issued by President Bill Clinton and kept in place by President George W. Bush. However, in January 2009, the Administration expressed an interest in revising the executive order. OIRA opened a comment period and received a broad response from the policy community.6 So far, nothing has happened. The comments seem to have fallen into a black hole. OIRA has not attempted a full-blown reconsideration of the executive order. It has concentrated instead on increasing the transparency of government, and especially, on the ease of access to regulatory information and data sets. Otherwise, it is “business as usual”—with the staff reviewing proposed and final rules with only an occasional flare-up over controversial issues, such as whether or not to designate coal ash as a hazardous waste.7 The failure to rethink the executive order is unfortunate—especially given the global trend to institutionalize something called impact assessment (IA).” Putting Cost-Benefit Analysis in Its Place: Rethinking Regulatory Review p. 3
  4. With no change in the executive order, CBA will continue to be enshrined as the ideal standard for regulation in the United States. Even if the actual cost-benefit studies performed by U.S. government agencies are highly variable in quality and often lack key components, the technique remains a benchmark for analysis.10 I seek to challenge the hegemony of CBA on two grounds. First, cost-benefit analysis should be used to evaluate only a limited class of regulatory policies, and even then it should be supplemented with value choices not dictated by welfare economics. Second, CBA presents an impoverished normative framework for policy choices that do not fall into this first category.”  Putting Cost-Benefit Analysis in Its Place: Rethinking Regulatory Review p.4
  5. “Here, the main problems are measurement difficulties that are sometimes so fundamental that better analysis or consultation with experts cannot solve them. I am thinking mainly of debates over the proper discount rate for future benefits and costs; efforts to incorporate attitudes toward risk; and the vexing problems of measuring the value of human life, of aesthetic and cultural benefits, and of harm to the natural world. Disputes over these issues turn on deep philosophical questions—for example, valuing future generations versus” Putting Cost-Benefit Analysis in Its Place: Rethinking Regulatory Review p. 5
  6. “These issues do not have “right” answers within economics. They should not be obscured by efforts to put them under the rubric of a CBA. Politically responsible officials in the agencies and the White House should resolve them in a transparent way. ” Putting Cost-Benefit Analysis in Its Place: Rethinking Regulatory Review p. 6
  7. ” There is no need to resolve difficult conceptual and philosophical issues if the preferred outcome does not depend on the choice of a discount rate or the value given to human life. ” Putting Cost-Benefit Analysis in Its Place: Rethinking Regulatory Review p. 6
  8. “I review the limitations of CBA as a policy criterion and use my critique as a ground for proposing a revised executive order to the Obama Administration. The new executive order should continue to require both up-front consultation on the regulatory agenda and ongoing review of major regulations above some minimum level of importance. As Revesz and Livermore recommend, OIRA could play a larger role in overall agenda setting and policy coordination across agencies.13 Such review serves the interest of any president seeking to influence the overall regulatory environment. Hence, both consultation and review should be mandatory for core executive agencies, but, under my proposed framework, the executive order would only require agencies to carry out formal CBAs for a subset of regulations.” Putting Cost-Benefit Analysis in Its Place: Rethinking Regulatory Review p. 7
  9. “To avoid conflicts with the political pressures facing the President, an advisory body independent of the White House should provide expert analytic advice to agency policy analysts and to OIRA. In this, I build on Stephen Breyer, who urges the creation of a separate expert agency with the mission of rationalizing regulatory policy across programs that regulate risk.14 Bruce Ackerman also recommends the creation of an integrity branch, concerned with transparency and limiting corruption, and a regulatory branch insulated from day-to-day political influences but required to justify its actions publicly.15 Either OIRA, or this new advisory body, should create a library of innovative tools for achieving regulatory goals that go beyond the much criticized command-and-control model. Agency policymakers could access this library as they look for innovative ways to achieve goals, as could those contemplating amendments to existing laws” Putting Cost-Benefit Analysis in Its Place: Rethinking Regulatory Review p. 7-8

Do it, President Obama, for We the People of this United States of America! #VisionZero

Letter to President Obama from the Karth Family, including the Vision Zero Executive Order

Vision Zero Petition Book 3rd Edition

Cost Benefit Analysis Victim

Is Cost/Benefit Analysis Appropriate for Regulatory Decisions in Life & Death Matters?

I decided to find out if anyone agrees with my opinion that cost/benefit analysis is inappropriate for rulemaking related to traffic safety matters of life and death.

DSC00917Vision Zero Book 024

Here is what I am finding:

  1. Cost-Benefit Analysis: An Inadequate Basis for Health, Safety, and Environmental Regulatory Decisionmaking* Michael S Baram ** “INTRODUCTION The use of cost-benefit analysis in agency decisionmaking has been hailed as the cure for numerous dissatisfactions with governmental regulation. Using this form of economic analysis arguably promotes rational decisionmaking and prevents health, safety, and environmental regulations from having inflationary and other adverse economic impacts. Closer analysis, however, reveals that the cost-benefit approach to regulatory decisionmaking suffers from major methodological limitations and institutional abuses. In practice, regulatory uses of cost-benefit analysis stifle and obstruct the achievement of legislated health, safety, and environmental goals.  The Article concludes that if the health, safety, and environmental regulators continue to use cost-benefit analysis, procedural reforms are needed to promote greater accountability and public participation in the decisionmaking process. Further, to the extent that economic factors are permissible considerations under enabling statutes, agencies should conduct cost-effectiveness analysis, which aids in determining the least costly means to designated goals, rather than cost-benefit analysis, which improperly determines regulatory ends as well as means.” Cost-Benefit Analysis: An Inadequate Basis for Health, Safety, and Environmental Regulatory Decisionmaking*
  2. “Since 1981, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the White House has reviewed significant proposed and final regulations for conformity with cost-benefit tests.3 Under a series of executive orders, OIRA has performed this role through Republican and Democratic presidencies.4 These policy reviews are controversial: Some claim that OIRA promotes the use of sound social-scientific reasoning; others see it as a front for business interests and a triumph of cold and heartless economic reasoning.” Putting Cost-Benefit Analysis in Its Place: Rethinking Regulatory Review p. 2 by Susan Rose-Ackerman
  3. President Barak Obama has continued the practice of regulatory review under the executive order originally issued by President Bill Clinton and kept in place by President George W. Bush. However, in January 2009, the Administration expressed an interest in revising the executive order. OIRA opened a comment period and received a broad response from the policy community.6 So far, nothing has happened. The comments seem to have fallen into a black hole. OIRA has not attempted a full-blown reconsideration of the executive order. It has concentrated instead on increasing the transparency of government, and especially, on the ease of access to regulatory information and data sets. Otherwise, it is “business as usual”—with the staff reviewing proposed and final rules with only an occasional flare-up over controversial issues, such as whether or not to designate coal ash as a hazardous waste.7 The failure to rethink the executive order is unfortunate—especially given the global trend to institutionalize something called impact assessment (IA).” Putting Cost-Benefit Analysis in Its Place: Rethinking Regulatory Review p. 3
  4. With no change in the executive order, CBA will continue to be enshrined as the ideal standard for regulation in the United States. Even if the actual cost-benefit studies performed by U.S. government agencies are highly variable in quality and often lack key components, the technique remains a benchmark for analysis.10 I seek to challenge the hegemony of CBA on two grounds. First, cost-benefit analysis should be used to evaluate only a limited class of regulatory policies, and even then it should be supplemented with value choices not dictated by welfare economics. Second, CBA presents an impoverished normative framework for policy choices that do not fall into this first category.”  Putting Cost-Benefit Analysis in Its Place: Rethinking Regulatory Review p.4
  5. “Here, the main problems are measurement difficulties that are sometimes so fundamental that better analysis or consultation with experts cannot solve them. I am thinking mainly of debates over the proper discount rate for future benefits and costs; efforts to incorporate attitudes toward risk; and the vexing problems of measuring the value of human life, of aesthetic and cultural benefits, and of harm to the natural world. Disputes over these issues turn on deep philosophical questions—for example, valuing future generations versus” Putting Cost-Benefit Analysis in Its Place: Rethinking Regulatory Review p. 5
  6. “These issues do not have “right” answers within economics. They should not be obscured by efforts to put them under the rubric of a CBA. Politically responsible officials in the agencies and the White House should resolve them in a transparent way. ” Putting Cost-Benefit Analysis in Its Place: Rethinking Regulatory Review p. 6
  7. ” There is no need to resolve difficult conceptual and philosophical issues if the preferred outcome does not depend on the choice of a discount rate or the value given to human life. ” Putting Cost-Benefit Analysis in Its Place: Rethinking Regulatory Review p. 6
  8. “I review the limitations of CBA as a policy criterion and use my critique as a ground for proposing a revised executive order to the Obama Administration. The new executive order should continue to require both up-front consultation on the regulatory agenda and ongoing review of major regulations above some minimum level of importance. As Revesz and Livermore recommend, OIRA could play a larger role in overall agenda setting and policy coordination across agencies.13 Such review serves the interest of any president seeking to influence the overall regulatory environment. Hence, both consultation and review should be mandatory for core executive agencies, but, under my proposed framework, the executive order would only require agencies to carry out formal CBAs for a subset of regulations.” Putting Cost-Benefit Analysis in Its Place: Rethinking Regulatory Review p. 7
  9. “To avoid conflicts with the political pressures facing the President, an advisory body independent of the White House should provide expert analytic advice to agency policy analysts and to OIRA. In this, I build on Stephen Breyer, who urges the creation of a separate expert agency with the mission of rationalizing regulatory policy across programs that regulate risk.14 Bruce Ackerman also recommends the creation of an integrity branch, concerned with transparency and limiting corruption, and a regulatory branch insulated from day-to-day political influences but required to justify its actions publicly.15 Either OIRA, or this new advisory body, should create a library of innovative tools for achieving regulatory goals that go beyond the much criticized command-and-control model. Agency policymakers could access this library as they look for innovative ways to achieve goals, as could those contemplating amendments to existing laws” Putting Cost-Benefit Analysis in Its Place: Rethinking Regulatory Review p. 7-8

Do it, President Obama, for We the People of this United States of America! #VisionZero

Letter to President Obama from the Karth Family

Vision Zero Petition Book 3rd Edition

life worth saving

 

Back Seat Deaths @POTUS The causes of preventable crash deaths are endless:Adopt #VisionZero Now!

Did you know that 898 children have been killed in rear-end collisions in the past 15 years, all of them sitting in the back seat. Front seat hidden danger kills children in cars

And I discovered, when we participated in an underride crash test on March 13, that the contents of car trunks can push the rear seat forward. . .

Crash test 089

The causes of preventable crash deaths are endless. A National Vision Zero Goal, White House Vision Zero Task Force, and Vision Zero Executive Order have the potential to more effectively address these issues. What are we waiting for?

Do it, President Obama, for We the People of this United States of America! #VisionZero

Vision Zero Goal

We need the “Leverage” team to fight corporate & governmental injustices of preventable crash deaths.

My kids introduced me to Leverage a few weeks ago. So, lately, my husband and I have been watching episodes of the program nightly with them.

This is a description of the television series: Leverage is an American television drama series, which aired on TNT from December 7, 2008, to December 25, 2012.[2] The series was produced by Electric Entertainment, a production company of executive producer and director Dean Devlin. Leverage follows a five-person team: a thief, a grifter, a hacker, and a retrieval specialist, led by former insurance investigator Nathan Ford, who uses their skills to fight corporate and governmental injustices inflicted on ordinary citizens.

Last night, after watching a couple of episodes, I was thinking about our nation’s careless negligence of, and seeming indifference to, the senseless, preventable crash deaths which occur every day. It made me wish that the Leverage team could join us in taking on the hard-to-pin-down conglomeration of traffic safety factors*–many of which could be overcome or prevented and which result in the devastation of individual and family lives. Changed forever. No coming back.

*Underride crashes are a prime example of a problem which can be solved, but for which no one has truly been held responsible/liable/accountable for decades.

Mary (13) wrote a letter to herself a few weeks before the crash that took her life. She intended to read her letter 10 years later in 2023. One of the things she wrote was that she hoped to be famous someday; she didn’t know how, she just did.
 
A Leverage movie drawing attention to the widespread problem of traffic safety deaths (especially due to manufacturing defects) could highlight Mary’s and her sister AnnaLeah’s untimely end to their lives. And she would get her wish.

@DeanDevlin

Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, and Aldis Hodge

Dear Leverage team,

I am asking you to champion a National Vision Zero Goal and Strategy to reduce crash deaths and serious injuries. Traffic safety is of great interest to me following the deaths of my two youngest daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13), due to a truck underride crash on May 4, 2013.

My kids introduced me to Leverage a few weeks ago. So my husband and I have been watching it nightly with them. Last night, when I was getting ready for bed, I was thinking as usual about the frustrations of corporate negligence and indifference to the senseless, preventable crash deaths which occur every day. It made me wish that your Leverage team could join us in taking on the Goliath which ignores the problem and perpetuates the devastating impact on individual and family lives.

Since our horrific crash, my family and I have become vocal advocates for highway safety improvement, including a petition signed by 11,000+ people which we took to DC on May 5, 2014. Following that meeting with NHTSA and FMCSA, a rulemaking was initiated in July 2014 to study the need to improve rear underride protection on tractor-trailers, as well as additional proposed rulemaking in July 2015 for underride protection on Single Unit Trucks.

We are not stopping at that but are collaborating with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Truck Safety Coalition to plan an Underride Roundtable to be held at the IIHS’s crash testing facility in Ruckersville, Virginia, on May 5, 2016. We hope that by bringing together the trucking industry, regulatory officials, law enforcement, attorneys, truckers, engineers, and safety advocates, we can bring about more effective underride protection. http://annaleahmary.com/2015/10/underride-roundtable-save-the-date-may-5-2016/

In addition, we believe that it is not enough to seek improvement through rulemaking but that there needs to be an overhaul of how rulemaking is handled. In light of that, we have launched a Vision Zero Petition online to request that DOT/OIRA approach highway safety rulemaking with a Vision Zero policy. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/417/742/234/save-lives-not-dollars-urge-dot-to-adopt-vision-zero-policy/

Furthermore, we think that the regulatory approach to highway safety rules should not be strangled by cost/benefit restraints that hold up human life and health dollar for dollar against corporate profit and economic stability. That is why we are asking you to back our petition to President Obama for a Vision Zero Executive Order which would modify President Clinton’s Executive Order 12866 and pave the way for stronger safety measures to be established in a more timely manner.

Please let me know at your earliest convenience if this is a cause which you can champion.

In memory of AnnaLeah & Mary–who occupy our thoughts daily,

Marianne Karth

http://annaleahmary.com/

Rebekah photo of crash

Contact me at: marianne@annaleahmary.com

Safety is not a priority 002Who are no more with photo

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not looking for vengeance or ruin. I’m looking for justice  — for accountability in matters of personal and corporate actions which can make the difference between life and death for someone and can ravage someone else’s life. . . forever.

Nothing will ever, ever bring AnnaLeah and Mary back in this life. No way, can’t happen. Not in this life, but only in the life to come. (Hang in there.) And that hurts so freakin’ bad. Every single day.

But I know that more, much more, can be done to ensure that other people don’t go through the same (and thankfully they will never really realize it). And there are forces that are working against our attempts to  truly make saving lives matter more than saving money. Hard to believe, right?

Whereas I feel powerless right now to bring about lasting, far-reaching change, I know that it does not depend on me. And so I am hoping that all the right pieces will fall in place at the right time to open eyes to the truth and a better way to protect ourselves and our families.

Letter from Vice President Biden on Traffic Safety Advocacy

This week, I received a letter from Vice President Joe Biden in response to my December 9, 2015, letter to him asking that he champion our efforts to reduce the traffic safety tragedies in our country. I asked him to back our petition to President Obama requesting a Vision Zero Executive Order.

I truly appreciate his heartfelt letter expressing compassion for the loss of our daughters in a truck crash, and his promise to keep us in their prayers. He also mentioned that my commitment to the issue is inspiring.

Please pray that he is inspired to the extent of actively promoting our petition requests with the powers that be in Washington.

Vision Zero Letter from Vice President Biden

Letter from Vice President Joe Biden

Letter to Vice President Biden Vision Zero Executive Order

My letter to Vice-President Biden

Joe Biden letter with Dad photo 007

Letter From One Father to Another

Tell Obama you are standing with us in this: “Family Continues Fight for Trucking Safety”

Will the Nat’l Technology Transfer & Advancement Act give us a Dragon Underride Protector?

Well, now I have found out about an interesting requirement for regulatory rulemaking related to safety standards.

“National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA), Public Law 104– 113, Section 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272), directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards in regulatory activities unless doing so would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling procedures, and business practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standard bodies, such as SAE.  NTTAA directs agencies to provide Congress explanations when they decide not to use available and applicable voluntary consensus standards.” TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH CIRCULAR E-C117 The Domain of Truck and Bus Safety Research

Now here’s a question: How would the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act be interpreted and applied in the case of underride regulatory standards?

First, let’s look at an example related to seat belt assembly compliance testing:

The agency identified an ISO technical report (TR 1417-1974) and an SAE International standard (J384, Rev. JUN94) that have testing recommendations for vehicle seat belt anchorages. Both recommend the use of body blocks, similar to those currently specified in FMVSS No. 210, for applying the required test loads. The alternative strategy the agency is now considering in this SNPRM would continue the use of the FMVSS No. 210 body blocks. Accordingly, the alternative strategy employing the current body blocks is consistent with the ISO report and SAE standard. However, NHTSA has tentatively determined that the ISO report and SAE standard, among other matters, do not specify the positioning of the body blocks referenced in both with sufficient specificity to achieve the goals of this rulemaking. Thus, NHTSA has decided to base this SNPRM on the existing FMVSS No. 210 body blocks rather than explore using new ones, and to develop possible test procedures that make clear how the body blocks are to be positioned during FMVSS No. 210 compliance testing. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards: Seat Belt Assembly Anchorages

Now, let’s look at what the current proposed underride rule for rear impact protection on trailers says:

This NPRM proposes to adopt requirements of CMVSS No. 223, as discussed later in this section. NHTSA’s consideration of CMVSS No. 223 accords with the principles of NTTAA, in that NHTSA is considering an established, proven standard, and has not had to expend significant agency resources on the same safety need addressed by CMVSS No. 223Rear Impact Guards, Rear Impact Protection,

So, does this mean that NHTSA is choosing to adopt an existing underride standard (Canadian’s rear underride standard) rather than explore existing or future research, or standards from other countries, which might prove that stronger, more effective guards could be manufactured and thus save more lives?

Pourquoi? What would qualify as “available and applicable voluntary consensus standards”? Is this an attempt to avoid having to provide Congress, through OMB, with an explanation? If so, would they have to give an explanation for:

  1. Why they decide to use standards not already being implemented elsewhere? OR
  2. Why they decide not to use proven underride technology?

And what does ” inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical” mean? Is this an insurmountable barrier? For example, does “impractical” refer to the cost/benefit analysis restrictions of Executive Order 12866 which we are asking to be addressed with a Vision Zero Executive Order?

I’m confused. Can this Technology & Transfer Act allow us to make use of advances in technology? Can we not move beyond what someone else has already used as a regulatory standard? Why would we settle for less than the best?

Here’s to hoping this question can get addressed and that the upcoming Underride Roundtable at IIHS on May 5, 2016, will serve as a “voluntary consensus standard body” to clearly and definitively delineate state-of-the-art technical voluntary consensus standards to provide the best possible underride protection in the whole wide world!

And call it the Dragon Underride Protector in honor of my son (who suggested that name and who, as a passenger, endured the same truck/car crash as his sisters and witnessed their deaths due to underride) and in memory of his sisters, AnnaLeah (forever 17) and Mary (13).

Dragon Underride Protector 004

 

AnnaLeah & Mary are “going to Washington, DC”; Vision Zero meetings March 3 & 4

Vision Zero Book 016

Jerry, Isaac, and I are taking over 19,000 Vision Zero Petitions to Washington, D.C., next week. This time we are not taking them in individual envelopes. Instead, we have compiled a printed book (designed by Isaac) with the 16,516 signatures which we had on February 12–along with:

  • the petition letter to Secretary Foxx
  • the petition letter to President Obama
  • explanations of what we mean by Vision Zero, along with examples of practical application of a Vision Zero Goal
  • also, what we are asking for in an action plan, including a National Vision Zero Goal, a White House-mandated Vision Zero Task Force, and a Vision Zero Executive Order.
  • Comments from signers of the petitions
  • and links to all of the Vision Zero posts on the annaleahmary.com website.

We will also be making a pdf of the book available. And Care2 (ThePetitionSite) will be printing off all of the petition signatures, as of next week, and delivering them to us in a binder to take to Secretary Foxx.

On March 3 and 4, we have multiple meetings scheduled in Washington to discuss our requests and petition our country’s leaders to take decisive action.

This is our current Washington schedule (subject to change):
  • 9 a.m. March 3, Rep. Ellmers’ staff
  • 10 a.m., March 3, Rep. Cartwright’s staff
  • 11 a.m., March 3, Rep. Holding’s staff
  • noon, March 3, Sen. Isakson’s staff
  • 2 p.m., March 3, joint meeting with Sen. Blumenthal’s staff & Sen. Markey’s staff
  • 9 a.m., March 4, Sen. Burr’s staff
  • 11 a.m., March 4, DOT policy officials
  • 1:30 p.m., March 4, Underride Roundtable planning meeting

We have also arranged to have a Petition Book delivered to President Obama. When my granddaughter, Vanessa (6), saw the stack of books in my bedroom, she asked why they were still there. I explained that we were going to Washington next week and about the meetings and all of the people to whom we were going to be giving books.

Vanessa remembered going with us to deliver the first petition in May 2014. At 4, she sat quietly and “took notes.” Yesterday, she decided that she wanted to write a letter to the president to tell him that she missed Aunt Mary and Aunt AnnaLeah. So we will be taking that as well.

Are you aware that Death by Motor Vehicle is one of the leading causes of death?

32,719 people died in U.S. traffic crashes in 2013.  Two of those people were my daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13). That number decreased to 32,675 deaths in 2014–down by 44, but still far too many deaths in my book. In fact, early estimates show 2015 trending higher.

And how many of those deaths were due to truck underride and could have been prevented by a stronger, more effective underride protection system? Underride deaths are preventable and unnecessary and now is the time to take extreme action to reduce these deaths–no matter who caused the crash!

I survived a horrific truck crash in which our car was pushed by a truck into the rear of another truck. Backwards. My daughters in the back seat were not so fortunate; they went under the truck and the truck broke their innocent bodies.

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Mom Says $100 Truck Tweak Could Have Saved Her Daughters

A Mom’s Knee-Jerk Reaction to NHTSA’s Proposed Rule to Improve Rear Underride Protection

Let’s not wait for collision avoidance technology to kick in before kicking out preventable underride deaths!

The underride problem is just one example of the fixable problems we need to address. Michael Lemov has written an eye-opener, Car Safety Wars: One Hundred Years of Technology, Politics, and Death in which he tells us that in the more than 110 years since the first traffic crash in 1898, more than 3.5 million Americans have been killed and more than 300,000,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes [p.9]. This, I learned, is 3x the number of Americans who have been killed and 200x the number wounded in all of the wars fought by our nation since the Revolution [p.10]. Imagine.

Are you aware that Death by Motor Vehicle is one of the leading causes of deaths?

Worldwide it was estimated that 1.2 million people were killed and 50 million more were injured in motor vehicle collisions in 2004.[2] Also in 2010 alone, around 1.23 million people were killed due to traffic collisions.[3] This makes motor vehicle collisions the leading cause of death among children 10–19 years of age (260,000 children die a year, 10 million are injured)[4] and the sixth leading preventable cause of death in the United States[5] (45,800 people died and 2.4 million were injured in 2005).[6] It is estimated that motor vehicle collisions caused the deaths of around 60 million people during the 20th century,[7] around the same as the number of World War II casualties

Lemov’s book sheds light on many things including the fact that, although the blame was often put on the driver for crashes in the 20th century, in fact crashes and crash deaths are additionally caused by other factors including environmental and vehicle factors. He uses a term which I had never heard before–post-crash injury or “second collision.” He describes it this way: ”

It is the collision of the occupants of a vehicle with its interior, or the road, after the initial impact of a car crash. Ultimately the creativity of a few scientists, doctors, and investigators. . . developed an understanding of what actually happens to a human body in a car crash. . . Researchers gradually developed ideas they hoped would prevent this second collision. [p.16]

We can thank these researchers for paving the way for improved vehicle safety, including things like seat belts, air bags, and even car seats that lock in position. But, for far too long, it has been a major battle –as Lemov says, a car safety war — to bring about changes which will save lives.

Our own crash demonstrated the many factors which can contribute to the occurrence of crashes as well as to the deaths and horrific injuries which too often occur as a result. We learned the hard way that many of these are preventable and that Our Crash Was Not An Accident.

Following our truck crash, on May 4, 2013, we have learned more than we ever wanted to about traffic safety issues. We took the AnnaLeah & Mary Stand Up for Truck Safety – Save Lives and Prevent Injuries! Petition to DC on May 5, 2014 and helped to initiate an update in the underride protection for tractor-trailers.

Following that, we worked to promote underride research and have helped to organize an international Underride Roundtable on Thursday, May 5, 2016, when researchers, government officials, and industry leaders will gather to discuss truck underride crashes and how to reduce the risks for passenger vehicle occupants, bicyclists, and pedestrians. We will explore the scope of the problem and how regulation and voluntary action can help address it. There will also be a demonstration of underride guard performance in a crash test.

But, along the way, as I engaged in safety advocacy efforts — calling, emailing, and meeting with legislators — I quickly realized that all too-often it was 2 steps forward 3 steps backward. I began to ask, “Why is it so difficult to get anything done to save lives?” and “Why isn’t the best possible protection being adopted?”

I learned that one of the biggest obstacles was that public policy and more specifically DOT rulemaking is impacted by a requirement for cost/benefit analysis which tips the scale in the favor of industry lobby and the almighty dollar and makes a mockery out of the word safety. Human life becomes devalued in the process when a safety measure is rejected because it “may not have significant safety consequence.”

This is illustrated in the history of Federal rulemaking on truck underride guards outlined by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, where it was indicated that in

1974: US Secretary of Transportation says deaths in cars that underride trucks would have to quadruple before underride protection would be considered cost beneficial.

I determined to battle such an inconceivable, incomprehensible, and unconscionable attitude and determined to find a better way to protect travelers on the road. After talking with numerous engineers who either were convinced that safer underride guards could be made or had already designed ones, I also discovered a global movement that calls for the reduction of crash deaths and serious injuries: Vision Zero – An ethical approach to safety and mobility.

After launching an online petition Save Lives Not Dollars: Urge DOT to Adopt a Vision Zero Policy on September 29, 2015, I discovered that an Executive Order had been signed by Clinton which had set in place the cost/benefit analysis rulemaking policy which all too-often delays or blocks traffic safety regulations. I immediately set out to petition President Obama to set a National Vision Zero Goal with the establishment of a White House Task Force to Achieve a Vision Zero Goal of Crash Death Reduction. Furthermore, I believe that it is necessary to cancel out the negative impact of Executive Order 12866 in order to end this senseless war over safety. That is why I am asking President Obama to sign a new Vision Zero Executive Order.

Why are we devoting our lives to pushing for a DOT Vision Zero policy? Because I truly believe that it can have an impact not just on truck safety but on all issues related to highway and auto safety–including auto safety defects, driver training requirements, all kinds of impaired driving (including distracted driving, drunk driving, and driving while fatigued), and proven national traffic safety standards which should be adopted by all states.

Add your voice to ours!  Sign & share our Vision Zero Petition. Help us persuade President Obama to set a National Vision Zero Goal & to sign a Vision Zero Executive Order which will allow DOT to adopt a Vision Zero rulemaking policy.

We are taking these petitions (almost 16,000 signatures to date) to Washington, DC, on March 4, where we will be meeting with DOT policy officials to discuss the need for this radical change in how our nation protects the travelers on our roads.

It is time to stop acting like the value of a human life can be measured with and compared to corporate $$$. Every delay costs someone their life.

Let’s get it right, America. Somebody’s life depends on it. Lots of somebodies.